Why not give the workers spoons instead of shovels

When Nobel laureate Economist Milton Friedman was consulting with an Asian nation government in the 1960s he visited a site of a large scale public works project and found workers shoveling but not using any heavy equipment like bull dozers, tractors or heavy equipment. On enquiring he was told that the purpose of the project was to provide jobs. To which he drly remarked "Why don't you give worker's spoons instead of shovels?"

In the book "Rise of the Robots: Technology and the threat of a jobless future" the author cites this story and also speaks about the looming threat of a jobless future with advancement of technology creating a jobless future.

 In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish, and implores employers, scholars, and policy makers alike to face the implications. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren't going to work, and we must decide, now, whether the future will see broad-based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity. Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what accelerating technology means for their own economic prospects—not to mention those of their children—as well as for society as a whole.


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